I am writing this very long post so that you will all see what has happened with Mahogany Magazine with Mr. Henry Dorris. I want all writers to be on the look out for this person and publication with the hopes that he will not be able to take advantage of any writers ever again and maybe will learn to respect us.
The WRITE Business Solutions has been working with Mahogany Magazine, writing the cover story and numerous feature articles for it's April and May issue. Payment was received late for the April issue with excuses that judging from the postmark were out and out lies. Payment was received $10 less than what was due for the April issues, but the promised copies were never seen.
The topics were delivered for the May issue later than requested (this magazine is working on a month to month basis ... I've told him how important a lead time is and how to acquire one but so for it's been like talking to a brick wall). He usually has certain topics that he wants interviews conducted for and he supplies the contact information.
For May's issue, my writers' deadline was April 22. I was going to have the articles to Henry Dorris by April 25. The magazine was going to be late but I was doing everything in my power to get it out as close to the first as possible. Mr. Henry did not get the contact information to me until April 26! And one of the topics he wanted covered was on school children from local schools that could not be done. I tried telling him that legally, he was going to have to have permission from the parents and that the guidance councilors could not even began to discuss a student until then. He wanted us to contact the guidance councilors and get names of students and such. He flat out told me either my writer or I were either miss-informed or lying to him. He contacted a superintendent of schools he knew and found out we were telling him the truth.
He then changed the topic to a political one he had promised the people of Helena, AR would be in the May issue yet he only told us about it beyond the last minute. My writer worked 7 hours doing research on this for a very low amount of money. We submitted the edited article to him the following Monday morning. He did not bother to read his email until the following Tuesday and then informed me that afternoon that he had to have quotes to go with the article and the writer needed to interview someone for it. He had originally told me the entire article could be written by doing on-line research. My writer contacted the person he provided and the ladies line was busy all afternoon, then she was gone. He then provided a cell phone number the next morning and told us to keep trying her. My writer was able to get the lady, conduct the interview and add that to the article. We sent the piece to the editor and I told Mr. Henry he would have the article with in the hour. He then informed me that the magazine had gone to print; he simply could not hold it any longer! It was May the 11, but the tardiness of the magazine was not our fault and completely beyond our control.
Mr. Henry said he did not know if he would be using the article for the June issue or not. I told him that the writer had expressed an interest in submitting the piece elsewhere if he was not going to use it as she was concerned for the people who had been promised the article. They were trying to save their school. Mr. Henry was irate and said he had provided us the topic therefore we had no right to sell it someplace else, even though my writer had spent over 7 hours on it.
Mr. Henry decided afterwards to use the article when I explained to him that until he purchased the piece, neither he nor I owned the article. I didn't bother to tell him that even then, he would not own the article as he never answered my repeated request for which rights he would be requiring other than to demand all rights for a cover story, which this was not.
I sent Mr. Henry the invoice for Mahogany's May issue on May 16 with due upon receipt on the bottom. We were already working on June's issue and many of the writers had completed their assignments by the original deadline of April 22. Mr. Henry pays for all the articles he purchases from us with one check once all articles have been submitted and approved. On May 23, I called him and told him I had not received the check yet. He informed me he had not mailed it and would be out of the office until May 25 and would mail me out a check then. I sent him an email on May 27 when I still had not received a check and was unable to reach him on the phone. I received an email on May 31 saying due to the lateness of the magazine the advertisers were late paying him and he was waiting on that check to pay us.
We continued to work on June's articles. He called asking for an update, I told him we were working on them and had most of them complete but would not be able to send him the articles until payment was received for May. He sent me an email in all caps saying if he did not receive the articles, he would seek freelance work elsewhere. I responded again, explaining he would receive the articles once we received payment for May. He told me I was being un business like and causing him stress and that in business, when doing business with businesses, you have to wait to get your payment as everyone is paid on a schedule and when the magazine runs late, than everyone gets paid late.
I am relating this story to all of you because I am certain he will began praying upon writers at other boards and possibly posting an ad. I have told him we will continue to do business with him once we receive May's payment. I told him June's articles would be due upon receipt and that we must have the topics for July and August by June 10 or we would not be able to contribute to them. I also told him that we would have to have September and October topics in by July 15 and the topics for the following issues would be do on the 15 of the next month, thus giving him a 3 month lead. I told him all payments would be due on the first of the month, i.e. July's payment would be due on July 1.
I don't see where I have been unreasonable with him at all. I simply want the money that is owed to my company and the writers and the editor who worked on the May's issue. Ironically in the same email he told me he was waiting on a check from the advertisers (after promising to mail me one a week and a half earlier) that he had received rave reviews from advertisers, subscribers and readers. He also asked me if I would mail the copies for the May issue to the writers and the editor as the May issue "somehow did not go out with our subscriber’s copies." I told him I'd be happy to do so with a check for $25 and to send the copies of April as well with another check for $25 to cover the cost of mailing the copies and my time and gas. I also told him that if he choice not to do business with us anymore and the copies of April and May's issues had not been mailed than to include the price for each copy at face value in the check. He also didn't give credit on his website for the articles written by the writers I supplied yet credit is given to the few that we did not write.
I have my attorney on standby, ready to file suite if payment is not received very quickly. The WRITE Business Solutions stands behind it's writers and editors and will take what ever means necessary to get the money that is due to them.
I will post an update when payment is received and what measures had to be taken to collect.
Tammatha R. Conerly
The WRITE Business Solutions